THE morning ritual of a man who collects lost golf balls in the St. Boniface Cemetery was disrupted Saturday with his startling discovery of the body of a beaten young man.
The cemetery on Rue Archibald was closed to the public Saturday, with yellow police tape wrapped around its exterior and police officers combing the grounds for clues in what is believed to be Winnipeg's 21st homicide of the year.
Const. Jason Michalyshen said Saturday afternoon that investigators are treating the discovery of the dead man as suspicious.
Michalyshen said the call to paramedics was placed at about 9:30 a.m.
Several neighbours from the apartment blocks across the street said the body of a young man was found in the middle of the cemetery by a neighbourhood eccentric who routinely roams the cemetery to collect golf balls from the adjacent St. Boniface Country Club.
"He was walking through the cemetery when he found the body of a young man hunched over on the ground," Shawn Sutherland, an area resident, said. "He didn't know if he was dead or alive but he went over to the 7-Eleven and called 911."
Paramedics arrived and police shortly afterward.
Sutherland said the man told his neighbours that the body was lying on top of a pipe. "There were no obvious injuries," he said. "The young man had a red backpack and his shirt was pulled up."
Neighbours said there was a great deal of shouting in the parking lots behind the apartment blocks around 1 a.m. Saturday, with several cars squealing their tires.
"It woke us up," Sutherland said, adding some of the cars were seen driving in the cemetery.
Residents of the apartment blocks said police went door-to-door through the neighbourhood, canvassing residents for information, including talking to staff at the 7-Eleven, a nearby grocery store and several other businesses on Elizabeth Road.
Police told residents they believed the young man was killed some time between 1:30 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
Michalyshen said the cemetery would remain closed to the public indefinitely.
"It's a crime scene at this point," Michalyshen said. "We have to gather as much information as we can before we can open (the cemetery) up again."